St. Louis Rams 2012 Schedule Analysis

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The Athlon staff breaks down each and every schedule for the 2012 NFL season.

<p> St. Louis Rams 2012 Schedule Analysis</p>

Scheduling plays a huge role in the outcome of every NFL season. So the Athlon NFL editors will spend the next month dissecting each and every week of the 2012 slate for all 32 teams in the league.

St. Louis Rams 2012 Schedule:

Week 1: at Detroit
Week 2: Washington
Week 3: at Chicago
Week 4: Seattle
Week 5: Arizona (Thurs.)
Week 6: at Miami
Week 7: Green Bay
Week 8: New England
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: at San Francisco
Week 11: New York Jets
Week 12: at Arizona
Week 13: San Francisco
Week 14: at Buffalo
Week 15: Minnesota
Week 16: at Tampa Bay
Week 17: at Seattle

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- New St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher will get to reacquaint himself with some familiar faces in his first three games leading his new team. The Rams open their season in Detroit where Fisher will face off against Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz. Schwartz was Fisher's defensive coordinator for eight seasons (2001-08) when both were with the Tennessee Titans. In Week 3, the Rams head to Chicago to take on the Bears. Fisher played five seasons, his entire playing career, for the Bears, and he was a member of the 1985 team that won Super Bowl XX.

- The Rams get the NFC North and AFC East as their cross-divisional opponents in 2012 and will play five of these eight games in the first half of their schedule. In the first eight weeks besides going to Detroit and Chicago, St. Louis will make a trip to Miami and also host Green Bay and New England in consecutive weeks.

- The back-to-back games with the Packers and Patriots are also the final two games before the Rams go on bye in Week 9. This means their season is split exactly in half with eight games on both sides. The other good news for the Rams is that their bye also splits up their toughest four-game stretch of the season. Following the bye, St. Louis goes out to San Francisco to face the defending divisional champion 49ers and then comes back home to play the Jets.

- The Rams play the majority of their divisional slate after the Week 9 bye. St. Louis gets San Francisco twice in a span of less than a month and has road games against both Arizona and Seattle among their final six games of the season.

- St. Louis' floating games have the Rams playing Washington at home and going on the road to Tampa Bay in Week 16. The game against the Redskins offers a match up between fellow starting quarterbacks and Heisman Trophy winners as the Rams' Sam Bradford (2008) and 'Skins' Robert Griffin III will try to lead their teams to victory. The game against the Buccaneers should be a good barometer to see which of the teams have made the most progress in its first season under a new coaching staff.

- The schedule softens somewhat for the Rams in their final four games. They do have to go on the road to Buffalo in December, but after that it's home to Minnesota, at Tampa Bay, and then they close out the season with a divisional game in Seattle. The Rams aren't expected to make the playoffs this season, so these final four games should present them with a chance to build some positive momentum headed into the offseason.

Fantasy Focus: Last season, St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson became just the seventh player in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in seven consecutive seasons. Only five — Emmitt Smith (11), Barry Sanders (10), Curtis Martin (10), Thurman Thomas (8), LaDainian Tomlinson (8) — have done this in eight or more straight seasons. Jackson no doubt has his sights set on registering his eighth straight 1,000-yard campaign in 2012, but it won't be easy. Eight of St. Louis' opponents this season finished among the top 16 in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to running backs in 2011. San Francisco, who St. Louis plays twice since they are both in the NFC West, gave up the fewest fantasy points to running backs last season. The Rams other divisional foes the Cardinals (11th-fewest) and Seahawks (15th), also ranked among the top half in fantasy points allowed to running backs, as did the Dolphins (5th), Bears (7th), Jets (12th), Lions (13th), and Redskins (14th).

— by Mark Ross, published on June 11, 2012

2012 Athlon Sports NFL team-by-team schedule analysis:

AFC East
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC South
Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans

AFC West
Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers

NFC East
Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins

NFC North
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings

NFC South
Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West
Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks
St. Louis Rams

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